Councillor 'got off easy' in court
IN ANOTHER police jurisdiction, within this State, apart from the small fine regarding the illegal "U" turn, Cr John Arkan would have been fined close to $1500, disqualified from driving for at least three months and put on a good behaviour bond for the more serious offences of : plates calculated to deceive, drive unregistered motor vehicle, and the "arrest" offence for failing to have compulsory third party insurance.
The Chief Magistrate of the A.C.T. instructed Traffic and Highway Patrols to arrest for third party offences and place the driver before his court that day if possible.
If false registration plates were detected attached to the vehicle, this compounded the penalty.
John, do not pull this stunt in Canberra. As for being a councillor, your credibility has disappeared.
Bill Mackey, Retired Senior Sergeant of Police, Coffs Harbour
John Arkan should resign as a councillor
THOUGH he's a likable fellow and has long served on Coffs Council, I believe due to the three court matters that he pleaded guilty to John Arkan should quietly resign as a public official.
It's the honourable thing to do.
If it were simply a u-turn, slight speeding offence or walking against the light, that would be forgivable.
But he was caught in a vehicle that had incorrect plates on it (from his other car) and it was unregistered (if only for a day).
The implications go far beyond this though.
Aside from a u-turn on a busy highway, clearly marked against doing this, had he been in an accident at the spot, he would have not been covered by his liability green slip insurance which had expired with the registration.
It is likely that his comprehensive insurance would have also been voided for an unregistered vehicle.
If someone was grossly injured or killed, the financial responsibility would have been personal.
Further, the switching of plates did not occur by magic.
It took three acts to do this -taking them off the Coaster, taking them off the LandCruiser and replacing the latter onto the Coaster fraudulently.
This was not an unlucky driving offence, this was prima facie dishonesty as well as reckless endangerment.
John had the public trust, this act betrays that trust.
A councillor has to be held to a higher responsibility because we elected him and he represents us as a public officer.
And it is a violation of integrity and honesty which can not be tolerated to a person in his position.
If he doesn't do it voluntarily, Council needs to act.
Phil Tripp, Coffs Harbour
Penalty rate tax tribulations
PLEASE consider the staff at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus and Base Hospital.
The flu epidemic has decimated the community including the staff working at the hospital.
But the work still gets done despite many staff being away.
This is mainly due to staff working extra hours and shifts, to help out, to ensure no one is turned away. However, with penalty tax rates, the financial benefit for these diligent staff is often minimal.
One worker was telling me after 27 hours of overtime to assist, and that is time not relaxing and getting rest after hard work, away from family and so on, the total amount extra they received was $400.00.
Surely overtime, especially for essential services e.g. hospital staff, ambos, police, fire-fighters should not be penalised by so much that helping out is then given a kick in the teeth.
Sure high salaries may need to be taxed at a higher rate but those earning more because they have to to keep the essential services going should get a break. Politicians... do something.
Dodge Elliot, Ulong
Celebration of our schools
I HAVE just enjoyed the graduation and farewell ceremony for Coffs Harbour High School's Year 12 Class of 2017 - what a joyful occasion!
All the young people present were so engaged and respectful, including the younger years who were patient when the procedures ran into their lunch break (although that could have been because they were consequently allowed to miss the class after lunch!).
Every student who spoke, including current and incoming Captains and Vice-Captains, was articulate and entertaining, with an appreciation of the education they have received and a thoughtfulness about their futures which belies their youth.
The awards given celebrated the diversity of success with recognition of the great achievements of our recently arrived migrants, those who have faced hardship, and a particular celebration of the achievements of the school's graduating Indigenous students, as well as recognising the academic and sporting high achievers.
The Principal, Patti Kearns, spoke eloquently about the citizenship values we look for in our young people - I have no doubt that this school community lives those values every day.
Seeing their acceptance and inclusivity of every student warms my heart.
Watching the graduating class jumping en masse off our iconic Jetty - in their Jetty High uniforms - was a very Coffs Harbour moment and one the young people will all remember for a long time - not many cities can boast such an iconic graduation ritual (The BDC class were arriving at the Jetty as the CHHS class left!) I am so proud to have been a part of this school community for the last six years.
It has been a pleasure to be a member of the fantastic P&C for those years, and to share, in a small way, the energy and optimism of our local school - public education is a wonderful thing and what our teachers achieve with the raw material we as parents deliver to them is nothing short of amazing.
Thank you Jetty High, it's been a blast
Some are more equal than others
THE same sex "marriage" debate is centred on loosely defined terms, particularly equality, but under cover of this much is being minimised or ignored.
It seems that the only ones who are considered as being treated unequally are those who wish to marry their same-sex partner.
Many do not seem to realise that should legal right be given to same-sex marriage then equality will still be a pipe-dream, but its effects will be far more reaching
It seems that few have given serious consideration to the children who are being brought up by same-sex couples, either as adopted or as offspring of one of the partners.
This is not a question as to whether or not the same-sex partners can provide a loving environment but rather that the children are being denied the enjoyment, nurturing and fulfilment that can only be provided by both of their biological parents.
The effect of this, according to the experiences of individuals raised by same-sex partners, is deeply and emotionally harmful. There are numerous personal accounts of this on record.
If the law is changed then we may think that now everyone will be treated equally, but this is far from the truth.
Those who in good conscience continue to disagree will then see their freedom of speech curtailed.
It will be an offence to refuse to provide services that implicitly suggest support for same-sex marriage. There are past and ongoing cases in other countries where this has been the result.
Adoption agencies have been closed down because of their refusal to place children with same-sex partners. People have been prosecuted and heavily fined.
Freedom of speech is no longer a right to disagree, and freedom of religion will be the next target.
Are we really in favour of a change to the law which will not achieve its stated objective of giving equal rights to a minority, but will in fact promote inequality and widen it to embrace a far greater number of people.
Norman Shannon, Korora